Neurol Sci. 2022 Aug 4. doi: 10.1007/s10072-022-06309-z. Online ahead of print.
Insomnia affects one-third of the adult population and is associated with multiple medical conditions. We conducted an observational epidemiological survey to assess (1) the prevalence of insomnia in an Italian group of patients aged over 50 years, presenting directly to the general physician (GP); (2) the association of insomnia with sleepiness and comorbidities; and (3) the pharmacological treatment. The study was carried out by GPs. Each GP was asked to enroll the first patient over 50 years old spontaneously presenting for any medical problems for 5 consecutive days. The Italian version of the Sleep Condition Indicator (SCI) was administered; daytime sleepiness was evaluated by a visual analogic scale (VAS). For every patient, GPs collected information regarding comorbidities and pharmacological treatment for insomnia and evaluated the severity of insomnia using the Clinical Global Impression Severity (CGI-S) scale. A total of 748 patients (mean age 65.12 ± 9.45 years) were enrolled by 149 GPs. Prevalence of insomnia was 55.3%. SCI, VAS, and CGI-S scores were highly correlated between each other (p < 0.0001). At general linear model analysis, the comorbidities more associated with the presence of insomnia were anxiety-depressive disorder (p < 0.001), other psychiatric disorders (p = 0.017), cardiovascular disorders (p = 0.006), and dementia (p = 0.027). A statistically significant correlation was found between SCI score and the use of benzodiazepines (p < 0.001), z-drugs (p = 0.012), antidepressants (p < 0.001), and melatonin-prolonged release (p < 0.001). Insomnia affects half of Italian primary care patients over 50 years and is frequently associated with different medical conditions, sleepiness, and use of multiple-often off-label-drugs.